Using Mindfulness to Detect, Disinfect
Mind Viruses & Change The Brain!
Aug 31, 2019
By Dr. Manijeh Motaghy – Founder of Perfectly Here and Mindful Business Institute. Affiliate MARC UCLA Teacher, Doctor or Psychology, Management Consulting. Member of International Mindfulness Teachers Association.
I’m always looking for ways to use Mindfulness to improve the quality of my life and to teach others how to improve their lives. Learning how to detect and disinfect mind viruses and changing the brain seems like a powerful idea. During the week of I visited and practiced with Luang Por Pasanno, I came across a book called Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie. As I read it, a new door opened to my understanding of what influences our thoughts and actions, or according to Brodie, infects our minds. Brodie starts with memes, a mechanism of proliferating information through things like gossip, social media and advertising. Brodie calls memes viruses because of their capability to multiply and influence or infect a mind to millions of minds. Apparently, some version of these virus cells already exist in our brains as views and perspectives. Something like the herpes virus in our bodies. These viruses can be good or bad like the way bacteria works. There are good and bad bacteria in our stomach, for example, that cause us to be healthy or sometimes very ill.
Bad mind viruses are extremely harmful not just to the carrier, but because they can be contagious, they can be harmful across the planet. Once a person catches a mind virus and one other person agrees, the way of thinking becomes their reality. They then gain the power of pulling others into their way of thinking. From there, cults and cult mentality can be designed and flourish. We can see this in today’s world of politics. How people with adverse, malicious and cancerous ways of thinking (experiencing hate for human beings who are different than themselves) broadcast these mind viruses through multitude of media and knowingly or unknowingly spread harm to millions of people, of human beings.
Scientists tell us that the brain has an elasticity quality. It can change. The way we think can change the brain (for good or for bad) and visa versa the way our brain is designed can impact the way we think. The human brain has evolved to have one primary function and goal. That is to take care of as much as 95% of the things we need to pay attention to so that we make less mistakes that threaten our survival. That is when we experience our lives in autopilot without awareness. We walk without much awareness, eat, drive, listen, and do everything else without much effort. During our wake time we have a certain amount of attention at our disposal. When there is no need to focus on walking or eating, then the attention goes spending itself in the mental activity. Because there, in the mind, we can create so much and entertain ourselves. We can travel back into the past and forward into the future. In addition to the positive uses of this mind ability, living in the past and the future has proven to cause humanity tremendous amounts of stress, anxiety, depression and hardship. Back to the mind viruses, operating from autopilot, one is unaware of the viruses that can infect the mind and reduce the sense of well-being. I.e. a person who is racist, harbours the virus of hate and dislike, certainly is suffering from such mind viruses and infects others with it.
Disinfecting Mind Viruses,
The human brain is adaptable and changeable, therefore, we have the opportunity to change it. To increase peace and happiness one can begin by disinfecting the mind viruses. Moreover, there are good viruses that not only help the owner or the host of the virus, they can spread and infect other minds. Just like the good bacteria in our stomach help our health and well-being, the good mind viruses help our minds to become peaceful and happy. For example, as you read this statement you may feel excited about it, agree with it and thus your mind accepts this positive type of mind virus. It’s only a virus if you go and spread it around and infect other minds and they infect some others and so on. This is a powerful resource that if we can become mindful and skilful with the intention for happiness for all, we can utilize and make big differences in our world.
How To Disinfect Mind Viruses:
There are many ways to go about this. Here are two suggestions for practice:
Disinfecting the Virus of Gossip,
Gossip is a form of communication that engages in negativity, producing doubt about someone’s intentions, words and conduct. Importantly, we can become aware of what is going on while this is taking place. Quickly reflecting on the draw-backs of engaging in the gossip. Draw-backs may include false statements causing someone’s reputation to be ruined, or relationships to be damaged, or yourself being embarrassed when someone you talked about found out that you did. Harm comes for sure. The least that can happen is those thoughts just fill your mind with junk. Nothing useful. Junk is not worth engaging in. Junk does not lead to your own sense of happiness and peacefulness. It is a waste of precious time and mental space. So, reflecting in this way you loose taste for the short term pleasure and aim to disengage. Change the subject and or even tell the other party that, “We’re not sure what’s going on, we better not speculate. Let’ change the subject.” Avoid this type of mind virus for yourself and not infect others with it.
Disinfecting the Virus of Anger,
When feeling anger about someone’s conduct, thinking they don’t care about picking up after their themselves, they don’t do what they say they would, or they are this way or that way that you don’t like. Notice tension associated with this line of thinking, even though it feels justified to think this way. It is still uncomfortable, even painful, for you. First, notice that you are stuck there, with this mind virus taking up your good energy, your peace and happiness. It is not helpful. It is not conducive to get what you want with this person. One way out and to help clean this virus, you can think of all the good qualities of this person. Start counting the ways you appreciate them, their presence, their humanity, their kindness, their light hardheartedness; the way they are helpful and supportive, etc. Of course, in severe cases this may not be enough, but it is definitely a good start to cleanse the virus from your own mind. A you think of them in a more positive way your conversations about what you want will be more effective, inspiring and encouraging. Everyone, loves to be acknowledged for the goodness in them. Be generous, be truthful and be kind. Watch the change.
Our brain does change,
There are so much more to learn and to practice in order to help change neuropathways. Mere reading is not enough. We all need teachers, guides of great virtue. Those who have much less of the bad viruses in their minds; who know how to consistently clean their minds and have the ability to teach us as well. If these are things that support and help you please check out our upcoming classes. We hope these topics are of value to you and your sense of well-being.
Introduction to Mindfulness: UCLA MAPS I: For Daily Living
Beyond Mindfulness: Mindfulness of Five Realities for Happiness